The African Cup of Nations (AFCON) is the biggest tournament in football in Africa. The Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) organizes the event. The competition is played every two years and has been running for 66 years now. Over the years, lovers of African football have experienced the thrills, agony and passion of the game.
Which team has won the most trophies? We list teams according to the number of titles they’ve won.
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Congo Brazaville – 1972
The Republic of Congo, or Congo Brazzaville, lifted their only African Cup of Nations title in 1972. They beat Mali in the final. The furthest Congo has gone since then is the quarter-finals in 1974, 1992 and 2015. The country has also failed to qualify for the tournament 22 times.
Morocco – 1976
Morocco is one of the countries that has clinched only one African Cup of Nations title. It won after its draw against Guinea, which saw them top the group. In 2004, the Atlas Lions came close to winning a second but was pipped by Tunisia.
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South Africa – 1996
Despite its big reputation in African football, South Africa has only one African Cup of Nations title to its name. They beat Tunisia 2-0 in front of home fans to win the title. Bafana Bafana’s best finish after that was a runner-up in 1998. They failed to qualify four times in 2010, 2012, 2017 and 2021.
Ethiopia – 1962
Ethiopia hosted the 1962 Africa Cup of Nations and won on home soil. They were an ever-present side in the competition throughout the 1960s and failed to qualify for the tourney for the first time in 1972.
The last time Ethiopia appeared was in 2021 but they’ve had long periods in the cold through failing to qualify and withdrawals.
Senegal – 2021
The Lions of Teranga finally conquered the continent after they lifted the Africa Cup of Nations in 2021. They beat Egypt on penalties to finally clinch a trophy that seemed elusive. In 2019, the Aliou Cisse-coached side lost to Algeria, a fate that befell them in 2002.
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Sudan – 1970
Sudan’s most iconic moment in football came in 1970 when it won the Africa Cup of Nations on home soil. This is their own title to date. With the country facing political turmoil, its football has taken a hit. Their best finish since then was a quarter-final. The last time Sudan was in the AFCON finals was in 2021. In between, they’ve missed numerous tournaments.
Tunisia – 2004
The Cup of Nations trophy went to Tunisia in 2004. That remains the only time that it has gone to the Carthage Eagles. They beat Morocco 2-1 in an all-North-African encounter on home soil. Since then, the closest they’ve come is a fourth-place finish in 2019.
Zambia – 2012
French coach Herve Renard led the Chipolopolo of Zambia to their first-ever title in 2012. The competition took place in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. After 120 minutes of action without goals, the game was decided by spot kicks. Zambia emerged victorious against giants Ivory Coast.
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DR Congo – 1968 and 1974
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has lifted the Africa Cup of Nations two times in their history, in 1968 and 1974. These are the only two times they’ve played in the final. In 1968, DRC beat Ghana and in 1974, they won against Zambia over two legs after a 2-2 draw and 2-0 win. The other times DR Congo came close were in 1998 and 2015.
Algeria – 1990 and 2019
Algeria’s latest claim to the biggest trophy in African football was in 2019. They beat Senegal 1-0. This happened 29 years after the Dessert Foxes won their first in 1990. These are the only times they’ve played in a final. Algeria’s best finish outside of these was a runner-up position in 1980.
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Ivory Coast – 1992 and 2015
Ivory Coast won their first African Cup of Nations dramatically. They beat Ghana 11-10 on spot kicks to clinch the title. The Elephants did this again in 2015, 23 years after their first win after another penalty shootout. Coincidentally, the Black Stars of Ghana were their opponent and beat them 9-8 to lift a second title.
Nigeria – 1980, 1994 & 2013
The Super Eagles are the only team to have won the African Cup of Nations three times. In 1980, they hosted the tournament and won the final 3-0 against Algeria in front of home fans.
In 1994, the Super Eagles beat Tunisia 2-1 and in 2013, their experience showed in a 1-0 victory over Burkina Faso, who played in their first-ever AFCON finals. Nigeria has been runner-up four times, in 1984, 1988, 1990 and 2000.
Ghana – 4
The Black Stars of Ghana are four-time winners of the Africa Cup of Nations. They won the trophy in 1963, 1956, 1978 and 1982. In 1963, they hosted the tournament and beat Sudan in the final to win their first AFCON trophy.
Two years later, the Black Stars fended off a resilient Tunisian side to win the trophy again. In 1978, they won it as hosts; in 1982, they saw off Libya 7-6 on penalties. Since then, Ghana’s finished as runner-up thrice in 1992, 2010 and 2015.
Cameroon – 5
Cameroon are the second most successful African nation in football. They’ve won five African Cup of Nations titles in:
Their first two came against Nigeria in 1984 and 1988. It took a while for them to regain continental honors but when they did, the Indomitable Lions won it twice consecutively. It took Cameroon another 15 years to be African champions. 2017, they beat Egypt 2-1 to claim a fifth title.
Egypt – 7
Egypt is the most successful African nation, winning 7 African Cup of Nations titles. They won it in:
The Pharaohs lifted the first-ever title of the tournament in 1957 when the finals began.
They defeated it again in 1959. Its next two came in 1986 at home and in 1998 in Burkina Faso. Egypt went down in history after winning three AFCON titles consecutively in 2006, 2008 and 2010. They’re the only nation to have done so.
These teams have won the most Africa Cup of Nations titles. Who will add another one in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations Finals in Ivory Coast? Buy any football products you want on Amazon.
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